Midwest Time Warp
This Victorian resort in Leelanau, Michigan's most scenic county, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1863, a French fur trader drilling for oil struck a gusher of water instead; hence the name Fountain Point. Visitors started coming by steamboat and buggy in 1889 to stay at a guesthouse here. By 1934, 19 clapboard cottages had been added. They now have kitchens, but no phones or TV's.
READY, SET, RELAX On 54 acres of lawns and woods, the resort frontsskinny, very swimmable Lake Leelanau. Visitors play shuffleboard and horseshoes; kids can go on guided "critter hunts." Inside the main building there's a grand piano and three parlors with slate fireplaces and overstuffed chairs.
OKAY, IT'S NOT ALL OLD You can rent a Waverunner (like a floating motorcycle, but quieter) to race across the lake. Or get your kids to try a wakeboard (like a floating snowboard, but easier). Next summer, Fountain Point enters a new era when Windows restaurant, a big hit in Traverse City, moves to the resort.
Lake Leelanau, Michigan; 231/256-9800; www.fountainpointresort.com; cottages $1,490 per week for a family of four.
Even Better Without Snow?
Sun Valley Resort
This was America's first ski resort when it debuted in 1936, along with something completely new: chairlifts. Folks have since discovered Sun Valley's summer charms. Arnold Schwarzen-egger and Maria Shriver, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Willis all own houses nearby, and you might spot them at the resort's three outdoor pools, seven restaurants, 18 tennis courts, or 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course.
ICE PACK Yes, the resort's rink is outdoors, and yes, it's open all summer. During the day it's used for lessons and recreational skating, and on Saturday nights there's always an ice show. Past headliners: Sasha Cohen, Victor Petrenko, Scott Hamilton, and Brian Boitano.
NO SKIS NEEDED Hop on the chairlift and be whisked to the top of Mount Baldy, with its heart-stopping views. The hike down takes less than two hours—but it's a lot faster by mountain bike.
Sun Valley, Idaho; 800/786-8259 or 208/622-4111; www.sunvalley.com; doubles from $239; children's program, for ages six months to 14 years, $59 per day.
Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Open since 1946, this cattle ranch is just a half-hour north of Santa Barbara, in the dry, rolling wine country of the Santa Ynez Valley. The 73 cottages have wood-burning fireplaces, but no phones or TV's. Try to snag one with a porch.
COULD BE A CAREER PATH Kids can gather freshly laid eggs at the petting zoo and learn to groom a pony. The ranch has more than 100 horses and maintains 50 miles of trails, which wind among groves of oak and sycamore.
PREFER A TIN CUP TO A STIRRUP? There are two 18-hole golf courses (if you're lucky you'll spot Kevin Costner) as well as seven tennis courts, and fishing and boating on a 100-acre spring-fed lake.
EXCUSE TO BUY A STRING TIE Men must wear dinner jackets in the Ranch Room at night.
ANOTHER EXCUSE At the Wednesday rodeo, wranglers show off their calf-roping, quick-drawing, and barrel-racing expertise. Then there's a barbecue and peppy line dancing.
Solvang, California; 800/425-4725 or 805/688-6411; www.alisal.com; cottages from $425, including breakfast and dinner (two-day minimum stay); kids three to six, $50; seven and up, $80; children's activity fees start at $10.
Classic in the Making
Elk Mountain Resort
The main lodge looks like a 19th-century hunting retreat, but the activities aim to please both granddads and Matrix fans. The 75-room spread opens this month in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, 40 minutes from Telluride.
ALL FIRED UP Hayrides, fly-fishing, and panning for gold compete with an ATV course, go-kart and motocross tracks, a paintball park that's a simulated World War I battleground, and a scarily state-of-the-art, 16,000-square-foot "pistol facility."
CALLING ALL KIDS Concerned about letting your children roam the 275 acres unaccompanied?Don't be. Equip them with the resort's GPS devices and you'll be able to pinpoint their location in plenty of time for dinner.
Montrose, Colorado; 970/252-4900; www.elkmountainresort.com; doubles from $700.